Whether it be integrated AV, live event AV or any other arm of the pro AV market, one of the most oft-heard lamentations revolves around the difficulties in attracting and retaining talent. In February, InfoComm hosted its annual Live! event, bringing together a hundred or so of the industry’s leaders in live event production and staging. While there were topics covering leadership and sales, one of the most notable conversations was the continued challenge to find, recruit and retain talent. Two of the most notable issues mentioned were attracting new talent to the industry and then how to retain the highest quality employees. What was revealed through group discussion and sharing was that most executives agree that financial incentive alone isn’t enough to find and keep the best people — creating a quality culture and having a brand that stands for more than just financial reward is not a new concept, but might possibly be more important than ever. There are a few reasons why this is so crucial.
First, there is the imperative to attract talent to the field. And whether you fear them or embrace them, millenials are the next generation of workers entering the marketplace. These workers have a profound commitment to corporate citizenship, it is inherent for them to think about more than just the bottom line when job seeking. Consider these numbers:
- 61 percent of 18- to 26-year-olds polled in a 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT survey said they would prefer to work for a company that offers volunteer opportunities
- In a MonsterTRAK poll on green employment, 80 percent said they are interested in a job that has a positive impact on the environment and 92 percent would choose working for an environmentally friendly company
Besides attracting new talent to the industry, there is also a challenge to retain the best employees. While salary will likely always be the greatest motivator for moving companies, what happens when this is not the sole issue? When an employee becomes dissatisfied or unfulfilled, an AV company can help them connect to a higher purpose. Unilever CEO Paul Polman credits the company’s 2010 Sustainable Living Plan with improved employee engagement and productivity: “Like Unilever, many companies are finding that actively involving employees in sustainability programs leads to higher levels of engagement on the job. Engaged employees go the extra mile to deliver. They provide better experiences for customers, approach the job with energy — which enhances productivity — and come up with creative product, process and service improvements. They remain with their employer for longer tenures, which reduces turnover and its related costs. In turn, they create passionate customers who buy more and tell their friends, generating further growth.”
If we are an industry that may not have the most widely perceived benefits or recognition for innovation, then perhaps now would be the time to more clearly define how our industry is the technology that can potentially thread together the sustainability ecosystem — from green building to energy management to the Internet of Things. All we need is a few good people.